Introduction: Coffee Table Restoration

I found an old coffee table with a lot of scratches and water damage in a junk heap. I was looking for a project at the time, and thought it might prove a decent challenge. In the end, it was a very easy job, requiring little more than patience.

There was honestly no need for tools, other than to accelerate the process. Everything I did could be done by hand. It's just a matter of getting the right compounds.

Material Needed (no tools required):

- Furniture Stripper

- Steel Wool

- Sanding paper (coarse to fine)

- Stain (optional)

- Varnish/Finish

- Paint brushes

- *If brass hardware, then brass polish

Step 1: Remove and Polish Accessories

I started by removing some of the brass accessories and polishing them. The Dremel buffer pads worked wonders! But there was so much grime it took several rounds, and several pads. Some I simply did by hand, and the results were the same.

Step 2: Strip and Sand

I started with some furniture stripper. Instead of coming off in peels like I had hoped, I worked out a lot of it by lightly passing over with steel wool when it bubbled. This was time consuming, but worth it as it greatly saved on sanding paper. Once the sticky coating was off, I used a belt sander where I could and hand sanded the rest, going with finer grains as I went. This is the time consuming part.

Step 3: Kinks and Fixes

The table was actually a little wobbly, so before I started to refinish I reworked and glued the joints.

Step 4: Stain

I like darker woods, so I gave the table a coat of stain using an old cloth. I only did the base/legs first. I then varnished these as well before doing the most important part - the top.

Step 5: Top Coat and Finish

Same as the legs. I stained and cleaned off the excess. The I added a coat of varnish, with very, very light sanding in between. In the end, the table looks like new, with shiny brass and a smooth finish.

For any questions about how much or how to apply, the products I bought all came with excellent instructions. Minwax for the win!